Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to scathe

unscathed (adj.)

late 14c., from un- (1) "not" + past participle of scathe (v.). Mainly in Scottish before 19c. Similar formation in Old Norse ostaðaðr, Swedish oskadad. An older word in the same sense was scatheless (c. 1200).

Advertisement
scathing (adj.)

1794 in literal sense, "damaging, wounding; blasting, scorching," present-participle adjective from scathe (v.). Of words, speech, etc., from 1852. An older word was Old English sceaðfullum, Shakespeare's scatheful. Related: Scathingly.

harm (v.)
Old English hearmian "to hurt, injure," from the noun (see harm (n.)). It has ousted Old English skeþþan (see scathe (v.)) in all but a few senses. Related: Harmed; harming.
hurt (v.)

c. 1200, "to injure, wound" (the body, feelings, reputation, etc.), also "to stumble (into), bump into; charge against, rush, crash into; knock (things) together," from Old French hurter "to ram, strike, collide with" (Modern French heurter), a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Frankish *hurt "ram" (source also of Middle High German hurten "run at, collide," Old Norse hrutr "ram," Middle Dutch horten "to knock, dash against").

Celtic origins also have been proposed. The English usage is as old as the French, and perhaps there was a native Old English *hyrtan, but it has not been recorded.

Passive (intransitive) use "feel or experience pain" has been occasional in modern English; current usage dates from c. 1902. Meaning "to be a source of pain" (of a body part) is from 1850. Sense of "knock" died out 17c., but compare hurtle (v.). To hurt (one's) feelings attested by 1779. Other Germanic languages tend to use their form of English scathe in this sense (Danish skade, Swedish skada, German schaden, Dutch schaden).

schadenfreude (n.)

"malicious joy in the misfortunes of others," 1922 as a word in English, German Schadenfreude, literally "damage-joy," from schaden "damage, harm, injury" (see scathe) + freude "joy," from Old High German frewida "joy," from fro "happy," literally "hopping for joy" (from Proto-Germanic *frawa-; see frolic).

What a fearful thing is it that any language should have a word expressive of the pleasure which men feel at the calamities of others; for the existence of the word bears testimony to the existence of the thing. And yet in more than one such a word is found. [Richard C. Trench, "On the Study of Words," 1852]